The Colorado Avalanche had high hopes for Steve Downie this season. He added grit, energy and a bit of skill after arriving from Tampa Bay last season.
He scored 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) and posted a plus-9 rating in his first 20 games with his new team. Back in 2009-10, he scored 22 goals and added 24 assists in 79 games for the Lightning.
He also earned, ahem, 208 penalty minutes that season as one of the NHL’s premier agitators.
But Downie won’t be pestering any more opponents this winter. He will miss the rest of season after suffering a serious knee injury during Tuesday night's 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center.
His demise will give journeyman forward Chuck Kobasew a chance to crack the lineup. Also, forward Brad Malone arrived from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League to add depth.
Perhaps this injury will make the Avalanche more determined to sign restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly and woo him back from Russia. O'Reilly could center one of the team's two scoring lines.